Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Recent Books

Follow Me (September 2019)

By Angela Clarke

September 20, 2019

Like.  Share.  Follow … Die

The ‘Hashtag Murderer’ posts chilling cryptic clues online, pointing to his next target.  Taunting the police.  Enthralling the press.  Capturing the public’s imagination.

But this is no virtual threat.

As the number of his followers rises, so does the body count.

Ambitious police officer Nasreen and investigative journalist Freddie are thrown together in a desperate struggle to catch this cunning killer.  But can they stay one step ahead of him?  And can they escape their own dark past?

Everyone is following the #Murderer.

But what if he is following you?

The Man Who Was Saturday (September 2019) – Athenaeum Book Club 2019

By Patrick Bishop

September 20, 2019

Athenaeum Book Club selection 2019

Soldier, Escaper, Spymaster, Politician – Airey Neave was assassinated in the House of Commons car park in 1979.  Forty years after his death, Patrick Bishop’s penetrating and action-packed biography examines the life, heroic war and death of one of Britain’s most remarkable twentieth-century figures.

Taken prisoner by the Germans in 1940, Neave was the first British officer to escape from Colditz, and using the code name ‘Saturday’ became a key figure in the IS9 escape and evasion organization that spirited hundreds of Allied airman and soldiers out of Occupied Europe.  A lawyer by training, he came face to face with many architects of Nazi terror at the Nuremberg war trials, serving indictments on Goering, Hess and Ribbentrop, among others.

In peace he turned to politics and in 1953 was elected Conservative MP for Abingdon.  He went on to become the man who made Margaret Thatcher, mounting a brilliantly manipulative campaign that in 1975 won her the leadership of the Tory Party.

His death was as dramatic as his life.  On 30 March 1979, a bomb planted beneath his car exploded while he was driving up the ramp of the House of Commons car park, killing him instantly.  The murder was claimed by the breakaway Irish Republican group, the INLA.  His killers have never been identified.

Patrick Bishop’s fast-paced and deeply researched biography, published to mark the 40th anniversary of Neave’s death, sheds new light on the mystery of who killed him and why their identities have been hidden for so long.  It is also sympathetic portrait of a vanished breed: a public figure shaped by the experience of war and driven by duty, patriotism and honour.

Relative Strangers (September 2019) – Athenaeum Book Club 2019

By Pip Murdoch

September 20, 2019

Athenaeum Book Club selection 2019

Pip Murdoch has written a searingly honest memoir about growing up in the nineteen sixties and what it was like to give up a child for adoption,  in the face of limited choices and moral disapproval of unmarried mothers.

The search for her son, years after his birth, is a poignant, often heart-breaking account that reads like a page turning detective story.

Anyone who has been affected by the adoption circle, and there are many of us in New Zealand, will find this a compulsive read, and be touched by its compassionate approach to every aspect of the process and the people involved, whether it be the adoptee, birth parents, or adoptive parents, and the legacy of the practice.  Above all, it is an extraordinary and vivid testament to an era.

Dead Souls (September 2019)

By Ian Rankin

September 20, 2019

A call from an old friend brings back memories and more than a little guilt for DI Rebus.  Suddenly it seems Edinburgh’s streets are crowded with the lost and forgotten.

Should the past remain the past?  Rebus faces the question on all fronts: whether to out a supposedly reformed paedophile; or look into the disappearance of an old friend’s son; and whether to believe a notorious convicted killer who has served time and now walks free…

Mortal Causes (September 2019)

By Ian Rankin

September 20, 2019

It is August in Edinburgh and the Festival is in full swing.  Then a brutally tortured body is discovered in one of the city’s ancient subterranean streets, and marks on the body lead Rebus to suspect the unthinkable…

The prospect of a terrorist atrocity in a city heaving with tourists is about as bad as it gets.  And when the victim turns out to be the son of a notorious gangster, Rebus realizes all hell is about to break loose.

The Black Book (September 2019)

By Ian Rankin

September 20, 2019

When a close colleague is brutally attacked, Inspector John Rebus is drawn into a case involving a hotel fire, an unidentified body, and a long forgotten night of terror and murder.

Pursued by dangerous ghosts and tormented by the coded secrets of his colleague’s notebook, Rebus must piece together a jigsaw no one – perhaps not even he – wants completed.

Keep You Close (September 2019)

By Lucie Whitehouse

September 20, 2019

The brilliant young painter Marianne Glass is found dead in her snow-covered garden.

Rowan Winter, once her closest friend, knows it wasn’t an accident.

Marianne had vertigo, paralyzing vertigo.

She never would have gone that close to the edge…

One Good Deed (July 2019)

By David Baldacci

September 15, 2019

‘You look like you can handle yourself just fine.  Bet you were in the Army.’

‘I did my bit.  Almost three years without ever seeing America once.  Why?’

‘A strong and brave man  then, who knows how to survive difficult circumstances.  Which means you’re just the hombre for me.’  He took out a wad of cash as big as any fist Archer had ever made in prison or seen coming his way.

In 1949, Aloysius Archer arrives in the dusty Southern town of Poca City.  He has nothing but a handful of dollars, the clothes he’s wearing and an appointment with his new parole officer.  After his wartime experiences in Italy and a prison sentence for a crime he didn’t commit, Archer is looking for a fresh start and a peaceful life.

On his first night of freedom, Archer meets local business tycoon Hank Pittleman, who promises Archer handsome compensation to work as his debt collector.  Yet Archer takes on more than he bargains for, as he becomes embroiled in a long-running feud between the drought-stricken town’s most dangerous residents.  When one of them dies, the authorities label Archer as their number one suspect.

A bloody game is being played above and below the law.  Everybody taking part has a deeply buried secret – and Archer must uncover them all if he’s to avoid going back behind bars.

The Long Call (September 2019)

By Ann Cleeves

September 11, 2019

Introducing Detective Matthew Venn

In North Devon, where the rivers Taw and Torridge converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his father’s funeral takes place.  The day Matthew turned his back on the strict evangelical community in which he grew up, he lost his family too.

Now he’s back, not just to mourn his father at a distance, but to take charge of his first major case in the Two Rivers region; a complex place not quite as idyllic as tourists suppose.

A body has been found on the beach near to Matthew’s new home: a man with the tattoo of an albatross on his neck, stabbed to death.

Finding the killer is Venn’s only focus, and his team’s investigation will take him straight back into the community he left behind, and the deadly secrets that lurk there.

Tidelands (September 2019)

By Philippa Gregory

September 11, 2019

Midsummer’s Eve, 1648, and England is in the grip of civil war between renegade King and rebellious Parliament.  The struggle reaches every corner of the kingdom, even to the remote Tidelands – the marshy landscape of the south coast.

Alinor, a descendant of wise women, trapped by poverty and superstition, waits in the graveyard under the full moon for a ghost who will declare her free from her abusive husband.  Instead, she meets James, a young man on the run, and shows him the secret ways across the treacherous marsh, not knowing that she is leading disaster into the heart of her life.

Suspected of possessing dark secrets in superstitious times, Alinor’s ambition and determination marks her out from her neighbours.  This is the time of witch-mania, and Alinor, a woman now without a husband, skilled with herbs, suddenly enriched, arouses envy in her rivals and fear among the villagers, who are ready to take lethal action into their own hands.

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